please add a screenshot for the Relationship Diagram. And make sure you picked the correct Table Occurrence for the Portal.
Look at the table occurrence names in the relationship graph on each side of your direct relationship between Donors and Donations.
Make sure the same table occurrences are being used for the layout ("Show records from...") and the portal, respectively, and make sure the fields in the portal also refer to that same occurrence of "donations".
You might want to post a couple screen shots of your graph and your layout in layout mode if you still have trouble.
Check that the portal field in question is to the appropriate table occurance
I just found the solutions to all of the problems (and, of course, there were several problems). The mixed up "approximation" and "author" fields came from simple bad editing of the portal, I got tabs mixed up and portals mixed up and that was easy enough to see and straighten out.
What I didn't know about and still don't fully understand is that fields in a portal can be from a different table than the portal itself. I kept trying to adjust the individual fields in the portal, but never looked at which table the portal as a whole was displaying. As soon as I had the overall portal matching the source table that the fields were from I was fine.
Obviously I got myself into trouble editing the individual fields in the portal. Could someone give me an example of a good use having individual fields drawing from a different source than the overall portal?
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Say you have these table occurrences:
If you put fields from layoutTO into a row of your portal, the same data appears in every row. If you place fields from anotherTO into your portal, you will see different data in every row, but if there are multiple related records linked to the same portal record, only data from the first related record can be shown.
But there are other places that a TO might be located relative to layout and portal TOs. If the TO is between portal and layout TOs, yo also see the same data in every row. Likewise, if you trace the path from TO To TO and you reach the layout TO before the portal TO, you get same data every row. But if you reach the portal TO before the layout TO, you get different data in each row.
"other fields" (not with the same relationship as the portal):
1. global fields (can be used anywhere even in portal rows)
2. any field with a relationship to the current record or to the fields in the portal relationship.
your results, of course, can be odd at times, when the context is not directly in the relationship line.